There has been plenty of talk about how consumers will access virtual reality content. Some believe VR games and other software should be rolled out to “middle man” stores like Best Buy, Toys R Us and GameStop. Others think VR content should be provided directly to the consumer through downloads. It appears as though many VR games will be accessed through a subscription model that completely cuts out third party merchants.
Virtual Reality’s Monthly Fee
VR customers will soon be able to directly access virtual games after paying a monthly fee. This flat fee will provide VR enthusiasts with access to HTC’s Viveport digital platform. Viveport’s distribution channel will be the world’s first app store to provide VR content through a subscription service. HTC representatives announced the news last summer at Virtual Reality LA (VRLA). Gamers who are familiar with the Steam platform will notice similarities to Viveport. This digital marketplace will provide gamers with a steady stream of virtual reality content spanning numerous genres.
In fact, Viveport content will extend beyond gaming. It will also provide subscribers with educational entertainment virtual reality software as well as an abundance of other non-gaming content through VR headsets. Subscribers will have access to content relating to sports, shopping, travel, health and even social media directly through their VR headset. Some of this content will be fully exclusive to Viveport. As an example, Viveport will provide unique interactive training applications to subscribers that can’t be accessed through other VR platforms.
The User Experience of the Viveport Subscription Service
HTC has provided some general information about the nuts and bolts of its Viveport digital platform. Those who pony up the monthly fee will be provided access to virtual reality titles. These titles can be downloaded directly to consumers’ at-home virtual reality hardware. Subscribers will also be able to choose titles from a group of VR apps. This option will prove especially appealing to those who have not used VR in the past and are searching for a starting point.
HTC’s Monthly Subscription Service is Similar to a Gym Membership
Though HTC executives might not have had the business model of gyms in mind when crafting the new Viveport fee and access structure, there are strong similarities. Viveport subscribers will pay a flat monthly fee to access VR content in the same manner that gym-goers pay a flat fee to access a fitness facility. Most industry experts anticipate HTC’s Viveport digital platform to be a raging success.
It might not be long until virtual reality fitness programs are instituted as a component of Viveport and other VR distribution platforms. Imagine a future in which health-conscious individuals pay a flat monthly fee to access fitness-oriented virtual reality content. These subscribers would strap on their virtual reality headsets and download the latest VR fitness games and activities. This hypothetical situation would serve as a virtual gym membership of sorts. Some of those who frequent traditional brick-and-mortar fitness facilities might cancel those memberships in favor of such a digital VR fitness membership.
This virtual exercise opportunity would prove especially appealing to those who reside in frigid locales. There would be no need to make the arduous trek to the gym when VR fitness programs are available on-demand at home. A VR fitness membership would also prove quite attractive as it would provide an endless number of virtual training environments. The same cannot be said of comparably static gyms that rarely introduce new fitness equipment. It is quite possible that virtual reality fitness memberships outnumber traditional gym memberships within a decade or less.